top of page
  • Writer's pictureTyGrayEL

Terrorism In Tulsa - We Must Never Forget

Ninety-Five years ago today the Black people of Tulsa Oklahoma went through an episode of terror that would make Manhattan on September 11, 2001 look like a stroll through Central Park. On May 31 a Black man made the mistake of getting on an elevator with a White woman which, on June 1,1921 unleashed a reign of terror that would destroy virtually every business on Black Wall Street.

Within sixteen hours upwards of 300 black men, women and children were murdered, two Black hospitals were burned to the ground, more than 6000 Black people were arrested and more than 10,000 of their homes were destroyed. In excess of 35 city blocks with over 1250 residences were torched by terrorist and burned to the ground.

Here is what we are up against. The Tulsa Riots of 1921 were deliberately left out of history books. The perpetrators and their decedents went to great lengths to make sure these terrorist acts were hidden.

On August 16, 1916, Tulsa passed a city ordinance that declaring residential segregation making it against the law for blacks or whites to reside on any block where three-fourths or more of the residents were of the other race. Although the United States Supreme Court declared the ordinance unconstitutional the next year, it remained on the books. This forced segregation sparked the entrepreneurial spirit of the formerly enslaved Africans and by 1921 had constructed the thriving Greenwood District.

The ingenuity and skills of the Black population of Greenwood annoyed the Ku Klux Klan and the many settlers of the Oklahoma Territory who had migrated from the deep south. They viewed the prosperity of the so-called Negro as uppity and above their station. Between the Declaration of Statehood in November of 1907 and the Tulsa Riots in 1921 there were 31 reported lynchings.

So, this coming September when the media bombards us with ‘Never Forget’ messages about the terrorist acts committed on American soil, as if they were the first. Please remember that they were not. African Americans have lived under the oppressive thumb of Terrorism for over 300 years. Our communities have been terrorized since we first established one on these shores.

Don’t Get It Twisted. And please remember, WE MUST NEVER FORGET.


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page